“It was about an hour and a half from when I first saw it to when there was a desperate need to get away from it.”
Shelly Brown remembers it like it was yesterday -- a blaze that would destroy her home and, with it, the memories she had built over the past nine years.
“It was very surreal,” said Brown. “It was hard to look at. Just seeing all your belongings on the floor with rubble is a little bit hard.”
Thinking back now, almost a year later, Brown recalls how scared and lost she felt.
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As we go into a week with hot and dry conditions on the forecast, she wants to remind everyone to be prepared.
“Trying to think of what to do at the right time was so difficult to do. So, I'll never not have a plan again," Brown said. “Scrambling to think about what you want to take is just so difficult."
The American Red Cross recommends:
- Have an emergency kit ready.
- Keep insurance policies, important documents, and other valuables in a safe place you can access quickly.
- Make an emergency evacuation plan.. and make sure everyone knows it.
“That fire came so fast and it was so large,” said Brown. “The sound was deafening. I just would have never believed it was so treacherous and scary. I think that everyone will hopefully make a plan and make the important things easily accessible.”
According to state data, so far this year, California has seen 1,812 fires that charred nearly 9,400 acres. A significant increase from the 1,559 fires that burned nearly 1,700 acres during the same time last year.
“It's crazy the way it could come,” said Brown. Looking at fire coming so fast and traveling the way that it does, it's just scary.”
A grim reminder, as fire season gets underway, to make sure you're prepared.